How To Buy A Computer Essay

1562 words - 6 pages

Knowledge is PowerBuying a personal computer can be as difficult as buying a car. No matter how much one investigates, how many dealers a person visits, and how much bargaining a person has done on the price, he still may not be really certain that he has gotten a good deal. There are good reasons for this uncertainty. Computers change at much faster rate than any other kind of product. A two-year-old car will always get a person where he wants to go, but a two-year-old computer may be completely inadequate for his needs. Also, the average person is not technically savvy enough to make an informed decision on the best processor to buy, the right size for a hard drive, or how much memory he or she really needs. Just because buying a computer can be confusing does not mean one should throw up his hands and put himself at the mercy of some salesman who may not know much more than he does. If one would follow a few basic guidelines, he could be assured of making a wise purchase decision.A computer has only one purpose; to run programs. Some programs require more computing power than others. In order to figure out how powerful a computer the consumer needs, therefore, a person must first determine which programs he wants to run. For many buyers, this creates a problem. They cannot buy a computer until they know what they want to do with it, but they cannot really know all of the uses there are for a computer until they own one. This problem is not as tough as it seems, however. The consumer should go to his local computer store, and look at the software that's available. Most programs explain their minimum hardware requirements right on the box. After looking at a few packages, it should be pretty clear to the consumer that any mid-range system will run 99% of the available software. A person should only need a top-of-the-line system for professional applications such as graphic design, video production, or engineering. Software tends to lag behind hardware, because it's written to reach the widest possible audience. A program that only works on the fastest Pentium Pro system has very limited sales potential, so most programs written in 1985 work just fine on a fast '486, or an entry-level Pentium system. More importantly, very few programs are optimized to take advantage of a Pentium's power. That means that even if the consumer pays a large premium for the fastest possible system, he may not see a corresponding increase in performance.Buying the latest computer system is like buying a fancy new car. One pays a high premium just to get the newest model. When the consumer drives the car out of the showroom, it becomes a used car, and its value goes down several thousand dollars. Similarly, when a new computer model comes out in a few weeks, his 'latest and greatest' becomes a has-been, and its value plummets. Some people think that if they only buy the most powerful computer available, they will not have to upgrade for a long time. These people...

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